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Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist who was working for ‘Reuters’, the team that won the Pulitzer award in 2018, died on 16th of July. He was killed while covering conflicts between Taliban and Afghan troops. This incident was reposted from Spin Boldak district of Kandahar, which lies along the borders of Pakistan. Initially, it was reported that Siddiqui was killed in a crossfire; he was considered to be a collateral damage in the fight.
However, recently former US Defense Secretary Adviser Michael Rubin reported that Siddiqui was not a victim of crossfire but was brutally murdered by the Taliban. Rubin is currently working as a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and specialises in border affairs concerning the Middle East .
Danish was laid to rest on 18th July, at Jamia Millia Islamic Graveyard two days after his death. The reports of American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and US-based Washington Examiner reported that Siddiqui was traveling with Afghan National Army to cover the conflicts going on in the Spin Boldak region.
In his report, Rubin mentioned that as Siddiqui, along with the Army, got within one-third of a mile of the customs post, they were attacked by Taliban. This resulted in them splitting, and hence, Siddiqui was separated from the commander and a few members. Siddiqui was left with three members of the Afghan Army.
During this attack, Siddiqui was shot and took refuge at a mosque, where it was reported they received the medical aid and the help they needed. The Taliban got the news about Siddiqui taking refuge at the mosque, and the local people on investigation suggested that the only reason Taliban attacked the mosque was because Siddqui was present there at the moment.
Rubin in his report claims that Siddiqui was captured alive by the Taliban. The Taliban then verified the identity of Siddiqui and then they executed him and the troops accompanying him. He also added that the commander and the other troops that initially got separated from Siddiqui, died trying to rescue him and the others from the Taliban.
Even though a publicly circulated image of Siddqui shows that his face was recognisable after this death, Rubin on the other hand had some very surprising revelations. Rubin reviewed images and videos of Siddqui’s body that were provided to him by the Indian government, which show that Taliban beat Siddiqui around the head and then riddled his body with bullets.
As disturbing as it sounds, Taliban's actions suggest that they lack respect for the governing bodies and also impose a threat of repetition of such events again in the future. Many are now asking several questions to the officials leading the investigation as to why Siddiqui's death was presented as a crossfire gone wrong when there is evidence that suggests otherwise.
This article has been written by Ritika Pandey for The Paradigm.
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